We had a great lunch at Grizzly Lake, then started Iron Chest in the early afternoon. With three Jeeps it didn't take long at all. The only real trouble anyone had was in the fresh snow at the top, and even that was just a fun kind of trouble. We had a blast in the rock garden!
We didn't see any snow in the rock garden except for a small, thin patch here and there. Everyone chose different lines through the loose boulders, and all of the lines were fun. There were some rocks that were good for climbing and some that were good for posing. Some of the rocks were really huge and we could imagine some really big buggies playing here, too.
No one got any damage on the way up through the rock garden and we all made it down through it safely too. Everyone banged on skid plates and differential guards, but we were prepared for that.
Once we got through the rock garden the trail was pretty mellow. Then we started to see snow on the trail and no tracks in front of us. A Jeep was coming down off the trail as we were starting it, but they must not have gone very far.
The shelf road was in the sun but it still had a couple of inches of fresh snow on it. It made it a bit scary but no one had any issues. Bob went up on the side a little and slid back down onto the trail, but he didn't get close to the edge.
The last rocky section at the top had snow on it, with water running under the snow and between the rocks. It was just fun, though, and we were fine all the way through it.
Then we could see the mining buildings and we were almost to the top. The snow was a bit deeper (4 inches or so) and we were on a steeper hill, so it became pretty challenging to get up through the snow. Luckily we weren't near a cliff so everyone could work on it without worrying about it being too dangerous.
We had to give it a little momentum to get to the top, but we all made it. We wandered around, exploring the area, and in some spots we ended up in snow nearly to our knees. The sky was blue and even though we were in snow the temperatures were mild. It couldn't have been more perfect.
The ride down was mellow, though we had to go over the snowy shelf road again. We got to a spur and took it this time, and it was a short distance to the end of it at some more mining buildings. The area was covered in pyrite ("fool's gold") and it made our tires sparkle. The views were gorgeous and we were glad we took the spur.
No one had any issues on the way down through the rock garden, though coming down off of rocks naturally means more momentum so everyone was hitting their skid plates quite a bit more in this direction. Cheryl came down on a rock hard enough to break it into four pieces, but she didn't suffer any damage to her vehicle.
Dane and Bob posed together on the last big rock right at the start of the trail, and then we were done. It was nice to run two trails and actually be airing up with daylight left. We had dinner at the Coyote Cantina and then headed for home. It was a great day of sun, snow and rocks!
Reports from Other Days: 6
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